I have written a lot about Care ever since I started this blog and it seems the situation isn’t getting any better. In fact it is becoming a lot worse.
(Two of my earlier blogs are worth reading :- “Cowardly Inaction” and “Social Care Straws in the Wind”, you can find them by clicking on ‘Care funding’ in the Topics List)
A recent survey carried out by the trade union, Unison, asked 1,000 domicillary care workers about their pay and working conditions. Although obviously not impartial it would be all too easy to dismiss their concerns. Their answers help explain the shameful state of much of the state funded domicillary care provision.
- 75% said they heave unto compromise Care because they are too rushed.
- 89% had no time to chat even though the client might be alone for the rest of the day.
- 63% get only 15 minutes for a visit to assist with meals, showers, dressing, etc.
- 63% are not paid for travel time between visits.
- 71% are paid less than the minimum wage £8.45/ hour outside London,
- 91% are paid less than £9.75 the minimum wage in London.52% are on zero hours contracts.
Reading between the lines of this survey, you can understand why so much domicillary care is below standard. If care workers are not paid for travel time between visits and are only paid for ‘ hands on care time’, they could be working for many more hours than they are being paid. In turn this means they will be paid significantly less than the minimum wage and lose out in terms of holiday and sick pay. It is hardly surprising that care is rushed, standards are poor and staff turnover is high.
Sometime ago the Government “outlawed” 15 minute visits but they didn’t really mean it. They didn’t sufficiently fund Social Services to implement it, so the system continues. Local Authority spending on adult social care is down 11% between 2009/2011 and 2015/2016.
Care in the community although preferred by older people is all too often a sad illusion. Ultimately, it is politicians who are the employers who allow these conditions to persist.